Last updated on April 9, 2021
While all diamonds are unique and valuable, their value is based on a combination of characteristics that make some diamonds more expensive than others. Colourless diamonds are among the most sought-after and valuable stones. Let’s see what makes them so desirable and if it makes sense to always go for top colour grade diamonds.
What Are Colourless Diamonds?
According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), diamond colour is graded on a scale from D to Z, with D being the most colourless, and Z containing brown or yellow tint noticeable to the naked eye. Colour is graded under controlled conditions by comparing a diamond to round brilliant diamonds of known colour, called master stones.
The D-to-Z colour scale is the industry standard for grading diamonds where each letter represents a range of colour based on a diamond’s tone and saturation:
- D-E-F – colourless
- G-H-I-J – near colourless
- K-L-M – faint
- N-O-P-Q-R – very light
- S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z – light
In the context of normal colour range, colourless diamonds are those that do not have any visible yellowish or brownish tints and are assigned a letter grade of D, E or F.
Diamonds that come in colourless to light yellow and brown fall within the normal colour range. The closer a diamond gets to the colourless grade, the higher its price per carat. Within the colourless range, D colour diamonds are the rarest and the most valuable as a result.
What Makes Colourless Diamonds Expensive
Jewellers bring lots of arguments supporting the high prices of colourless diamonds, such as how pure they look and how stunningly beautiful they are. However, the main and the most reasonable argument is simple: colourless diamonds are rare.
While many of us associate diamonds with a colourless appearance, most rough diamonds mined from the earth have at least some level of yellow or brown tint, which makes it hard to find a truly colourless diamond. Because of their rarity, colourless diamonds are by far the most expensive white diamonds on the market.
And yes, if the roles were reversed and tinted diamonds were rare while the colourless ones were abundant, yellowish and brownish diamonds would be quite expensive while whites would be relatively affordable.
Are Colourless Diamonds Always Better?
Colourless diamonds, those graded D, E or F using the GIA colour scale, exhibit an absence of colour. They are graded face down and examined through their side profiles under controlled lighting conditions.
In general, the absence of tints makes colourless diamonds stand out in any piece of jewellery. However, in real-life conditions, it would be extremely difficult for a non-professional to tell the difference between colourless and near colourless diamonds, especially if it is mounted on a setting.
Diamonds do not have to be colourless for their colour to be unnoticeable. If you are looking for a white diamond, you do not necessarily need to pay the premium cost. For example, round diamonds with G or H grade look pretty much like colourless stones graded D, E or F. This is especially true for smaller round diamonds up to 1 carat.
It is also worth mentioning that some “experts” proclaim colour to be the key factor for a diamond’s fire, brilliance and scintillation. This is done for a self-serving purpose to make you spend more on colourless stones. Of course, it is perfectly fine to pay the premium on a colourless diamond as long as it is a conscious purchase decision, but it is a misconception that a colourless diamond will appear more brilliant a sparkly. Cut quality is the major factor that affects a diamond’s performance.
Best Settings For Colourless Diamonds
Colourless diamonds look stunning in jewellery crafted from white metals such as white gold and platinum, as well as coloured metals such as yellow and rose gold.
Coloured metals work beautifully with colourless diamonds as they add attractive contrast and make them stand out. However, it is worth mentioning that such a setting can add some yellowish tint to the stone.
In case you do not want to add more colour to the diamond, you may have it set in white gold or platinum. If you still prefer coloured metals, then it makes sense to use white metals for your prongs. This will help to make the centre stone look whiter against a coloured background. After all, if you have paid so much money for a colourless diamond, it is worth making sure the stone will not be tinted in any way.